I spoke with my dad today via phone, and while he has thus far been very supportive, I feel that I now have reason to question the legitimacy of that support.
In talking with him, he brought up some basic concerns he and my mom have about me coming home for Christmas:
- “You’re not going to… uh, wear a dress or anything, are you?” – no, I’m not, nor was I planning on it, but I don’t think it’s necessarily appropriate to tell me that I have different dress code options than anyone else going to my family’s house.
- “What I hear when you talk about this is, ‘me, me, me.’ Why can’t you consider how this affects us?” – I’m sorry that it affects you, but my transition really is about “me, me, me.” By necessity, it really has to be.
- “We’ll try to tell everyone in the extended family about your… situation.” – I certainly hope so… Seeing me femmed up isn’t exactly how I’d like to break the news to my grandma…
Throughout this, he used my birth name, incorrect pronouns, etc. This doesn’t leave me feeling hopeful that I’ll come home to a family that refers to me by my real name/pronouns come Christmastime. I finally asked him not to call me that (birth name) anymore, but he continued doing that as if I said nothing.
At one point in the conversation, though, I did feel like there was something I needed to bring up. My dad is a member of the school board in the district where I went to high school. I told him about the transgender-specific policy put in place (but later rescinded) by the East Aurora school district (students/teachers would be allowed to go by their chosen names, use the correct restrooms/locker rooms, etc.). I’ve been a strong proponent of these types of policies, and I thought it was good fortune that I happened to know someone who had the ability to work to implement this in my old high school district.
Finally, it came up: “If there was only some sort of policy that was in place when I was in grade school/high school that would have let me know, ‘you can be you,’ perhaps it wouldn’t have taken until I was 26 to come to terms with myself. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt broken all my life. I guarantee that policies like this save lives.” I then elaborated on the provisions present in the E. Aurora policy, and how I believed that if a school board could just implement a policy like that, not bow down to religious-group pressure, it would inspire school districts across the country to follow suit.
My dad responds: “right now, I’m just trying to work on how to deal with this and you. I have a hard time worrying about anyone outside our family.”
Well, I tried. *sigh* Maybe I can bring this back up in the future.